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Easy St. Patrick's Day Dessert- Pot O' Gold Truffles

Although there seem to be an ever-increasing amount of healthy St. Patrick's Day desserts out there, I am going to the other end of the spectrum. This particular dessert is rich in many ways (See what I did there? Pot o' gold? Rich? ;) and so easy, I was able to mostly make it one-handed while rocking my 3 month old last year. I came up with the idea after looking at the masses of Girl Scout Cookies I just had delivered, particularly the Thin Mints. Yes, I could freeze them and in a chocolate-craving-frenzy cram the whole sleeve in my mouth one night, or I could create a new dessert out of them for an upcoming party. I did my jeans a favor and proceeded to do the latter.

Pot O' Gold Truffles

  • 1 package Girl Scout Thin Mint or Keebler Grasshopper Cookies (9 oz)
  • 1/2 package softened cream cheese (4 oz)
  • 1 bag chocolate chips, melting chocolate, etc... (12 oz)
  • Gold sprinkles or edible glitter

Directions

Use a food processor to crush the cookies into crumbs. Mix in the cream cheese. Roll 1 in balls out of the mixture and place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper or nonstick mat. Stick in the refrigerator for a half hour to solidify before rolling in chocolate. When they are solid enough, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (if using a microwave, be careful not to burn the chocolate!). Roll balls in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet. Place a small spoonful of gold sprinkles directly on top; you can make an indentation after they have set up in the fridge for a bit if you want them to look more like "pots." Let them firm up in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the chocolate firms up and you are good to go!

What are your favorite St. Patrick's Day recipes?

Adapted from Six Sisters

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Quick & Easy Oscar Party Ideas

Red carpet season means gal pal parties in my circle of friends! We love getting together, dishing on the fashion and sipping on some bubbly. Why not throw a last minute Oscar Party? I will help you with the dessert, signature cocktail and a few quick decorations and you are in BUSINESS! Signature cocktail: The Red Carpet

Ingredients:

Raspberry Cane Sugar from s.a.l.t. sisters

Jar of Wild Hibiscus Flowers

Segura Viudas Brut Cava (voted 2013 value brand of the year by Wine & Spirits- best bang for the buck bubbly in my book!)

Dip the rim of a narrow champagne glass in lemon juice or water. Pour sugar on plate and dip the rim in sugar. Fill glass with Cava and add a Wild Hibiscus Flower.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers can be purchased at Whole Foods, certain specialty food stores, and online on Amazon.com and their own website, wildhibiscus.com. They are all natural REAL edible hibiscus flowers preserved in cane syrup and every guest will go nuts over them!

 

I would also grab a few bottles of Cordon Negro Rosé, which comes in a chic black bottle. Who doesn't love sipping on pink bubbly?!

Delicious Dessert: Chocolate Strawberry Coconut Trifle

Ingredients:

1 bag Simple Mills Chocolate Muffin Mix + coconut oil, egg & water according to directions

1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 cups heavy cream

6 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 lb fresh strawberries, cut into 1" chunks

Directions:

Make mini muffins according to mix, cool and break into quarters.

Heat oven to 350 and toast coconut on a baking sheet (about 10 minutes, making sure to toss to prevent burning).

Combine coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil, making sure to stir. Reduce heat and continue to stir and cook until slightly thickened. Transfer to a different dish and set aside to cool.

Beat heavy cream for a couple minutes in a bowl and add the 6 tablespoons sugar and vanilla extract. Continue beating until stiff peaks are formed. 

Add half of the whipped cream to the cooled coconut mixture and fold in.

Assemble the trifles-

Add 2 muffin quarters to the bottom of a wide mouth champagne glass.

Add a dollop of regular whipped cream.

Add a few strawberry pieces.

Add a dollop of coconut cream.

Sprinkle toasted coconut.

Repeat, ending with coconut cream and toasted coconut sprinkled liberally on top.

These can be assembled 2-3 hours prior to serving and kept in the fridge. You can also put all the prepared ingredients in small dishes and let guests assemble the trifles themselves- a trifle bar!

 

Decor: Red, Black and Gold

Red, black and gold are the colors of the season! If you have a red or black pashmina, use it as a runner down your counter or table. Next, grab some gold glitter and glue and add ombre glitter to plasticware and plastic cups.  Concentrate the glitter on the bottom and thin out towards the top. Take plain white napkins and add gold stars stickers or a stamp to each.

 

To create a photo booth, buy a red plastic tablecloth at a Dollar Store or Party City for a few dollars and hang on a wall. You can add gold stars, film strip border using white printer paper and black permanent marker, or the Hollywood letters! Make a few props- top hats, red lips, fun glasses attached to long bamboo skewers (trim the sharp ends!) and place in a vase on a table near the booth. I keep white electric pillar candles on hand at ALL times and decorate them as needed- a red ribbon with a gold glitter star is simple and elegant, or a faux film strip to keep with the theme.

Done! Pop a cork and enjoy, and always remember your friends come to see YOU and catch up, not judge you based upon how many Pinterest fails you have. 

Thank you to Simple Mills, Freixenet and Wild Hibiscus for providing product samples for photographs!

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7 Best DIY Halloween Ideas

It is the week of Halloween, that probably means you are planning for your kids Halloween party at school or maybe even having one at your house. Since Halloween falls on a Friday this year, it is a perfect time to gather friends, dress up and celebrate together. Our town village always has Trick or Treating on the Sunday before Halloween. It has become a fun tradition to invite friends over to trick or treat with us. The weather was perfect (75!) and the kids had a blast.

Costumes and Halloween blow up Decor can be found on Chasing Fireflies.

We found 5 favorite DIY ideas that will make Halloween a lot more fun this year!

These DIY candy Ghosts from One Charming Party are not only cute but super simple way to dress up lollipops. Perfect for the kids to hand out at the school Halloween party.

We absolutely adore these adorable witch & owl cups from Mer Mag that kids of all ages will go crazy for! They will be a hit of the party! You can find the template Mermag created here.

By the time my kids actual go trick or treating at their grandparents on Friday night, they will have already worn their costumes at least 3 times! These DIY Halloween  masks found on  Oh Happy Day!  created by Mer Mag are perfect for a last minute costume or for the kids that have already worn their costumes several time and want to wear something different!

Halloween Playdough from Buggy and Buddy will be perfect activity for a playdate, school party or just a fun afternoon craft! You can let your kids use their Halloween imagination.

Our family has plans to watch some classic Halloween movies one night this week. These vampire floats from Shaken Together Life  will be a perfect partner to sip on with some fun candy corn popcorn. Did I mention they only have two ingredients? Yes, its true.:)

My kids and I love making "Dirt" dessert together. These Graveyard Parfaits from a Neighbor Food Blog are easy and adorable to serve at your Halloween party or for dessert tonight!

Popcorn is a favorite around here. The kids will love making this Halloween popcorn from Sing Your Supper with me. We will package it up in a cute container and drop it off at some of our friends houses for a "spooky" treat.

What are your favorite DIY Halloween ideas?

 

 

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Healthy Choices for Mom #TENways

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #TENways http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV I am not one to New Year's resolutions but 2014 is a BIG  year for me, I turned 40 a few weeks ago. With the big Birthday approaching I wanted to make it a point to be healthier for me in 2014. I wanted to work on making better choices for myself and also for my kids. I have been working out  2-3 days a week  doing the elyptical and weights. I have also been changing up what I eat and trying to make healthier choices. I am a relatively healthy person but my big weakness is high calorie sodas. I usually enjoy at least one soda per day. It has always been my treat at lunch. Cutting down the amount of sugar I consume on a daily basis is important. I have been doing okay without drinking these sodas but I sometimes crave something more flavorful at meal time that isn't plain or flavored water.

When I heard about the TEN Sodas line that features,  7 UP TEN, Sunkist TEN, A&W TEN and Canada Dry TEN beverages I admit I was skeptical. I don't normal like the taste of low calorie sodas. When I was at Walmart I found the Canada Dry TEN sodas and picked up a 12 pack.

I have to tell you that I LOVED the Canada Dry TEN! It was better than regular ginger ale. You can't tell at all that it is only 10 calories because it has so much flavor. When my husband saw the Canada Dry TEN, he said "I want one of those ginger ales". He didn't even know that it only had 10 calories! A win for both of us!

Lunch is one of my hardest meals of the day.  I am always on the go with my son and sometimes its just easier to pick something up while we are out. I don't always have a lot of time during the lunch time to cook something that takes a lot of time. I have been working on finding easy lunch alternatives that I will like eating. I am currently loving avocado smeared on a crunchy bread with cherry tomatoes, lentil chips and spicy chickpeas.

The Canada Dry TEN is the perfect companion to my lunch! I couldn't be happier that I found a beverage that takes great but doesn't have the calories. Making better decisions when it comes to what I eat and drink is important to me. If you want to try out the TEN beverages too Walmart has a coupon that will help you save some money (offer expires on 4/17 while supplies last). You can find out more about the TEN beverages on facebook and twitter.

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Mariano's Makes me Want to Grocery Shop! #mymarianos #collectivebias

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. 

If you live in the Chicago area, chances are you have heard of marianos.  I have friends and family that are obsessed with Mariano's because it is a shopping experience and not like any other Grocery store in Chicago! I haven't had the opportunity to shop there very often since we don't have one close to our house.  About a year ago the "Mariano's Coming Soon" sign went up in Lake Zurich and I was beyond excited!  only for the great quality and prices but because it is a shopping experience!

Last week the Lake Zurich Mariano's opened and I had a chance to check out the store. I will tell you that I have never been so excited to check out a grocery store in my life!

When I walked into the Produce Department I was blown away by the colorful, healthy and over 200 organic choices. It makes eating fruits and vegetables much more fun. I found many vegetables, like eggplants that I don't normal cook with but was inspired by them to try a new recipe out.  My kids love the Mariano's freshly squeezed orange juice that they make fresh daily.

When I walked into the Produce Department I was blown away by the colorful, healthy and over 200 organic choices. It makes eating fruits and vegetables much more fun. I found many vegetables, like eggplants that I don't normal cook with but was inspired by them to try a new recipe out.  My kids love the Mariano's freshly squeezed orange juice that they make fresh daily.

The fresh meat department is a favorite for me. They have an amazing selection of organic, natural and ABF beef, pork and chicken. We also love the specialty house made Italian sausage and pub burgers. You cannot beat the price and quality of their meat. If you are craving a burger or steak, they will cook it right there for you on their grill! The cafe at Mariano's is quite busy with a wonderful coffee and Gelato shop and OKI Sushi.

I love that each Mariano's offers their shoppers something unique and different. As a mom that encourages her kids to get healthy, the Trail Mix Bar is something that is fun for them to create their own mix!

Todd's BBQ is only at 4 of the Mariano's locations. Todd's offers great smoked pulled pork, smoked brisket and side dishes. You can grab something from Todd's for lunch and dine in at the cafe or bring it home for a family party! One thing that stood out to me was the health key labeling system. This helps customers identify what products are Gluten Free, organic, Vegan and Heart Healthy easily.

I love fresh flowers and try to have them in my house as much as possible. The gorgeous roses at $10 for a dozen were amazing and at that price I can have fresh cut roses in my house! The floral department showcases over 30 varieties of cut flowers and unique bouquests arranged by in house designers. 

The Bakery is one Department that should not be missed at Mariano's. You feel like you are in an Italian bakery.  It offers artisian breads, pastries, cakes and donuts. On most days they offer a yummy treat to taste while you are shopping. Of course this makes my kids happy to come to Mariano's with me. In most of the Departments you will find something to taste.

If you plan to shop Mariano's make sure you pick up your Mariano's to earn money back! You can redeem rewards now.

Keep up with Mariano's on facebook and on twitter to find out about events, new store openings and more!

Have you shopped at Mariano's?

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